Taking care of one’s family can be done in many different ways, from taking them to regular doctor check-ups to aiding them with their daily tasks, and with their finances too. Studies show that most people’s math skills decline after reaching an older age, which is why they may need your help in effectively managing their finances as well. Because of this, it is important to be well aware of the financial and legal laws to fulfill your elders’ wishes.
What is the power of attorney?
A power of attorney document requires you to name someone who can make important decisions on your behalf if you are unable to. For instance, if you happen to be inflicted with a serious illness and are unable to make your own decisions, then this document would enable another person to undertake your matters and make their best judgment. However, the document needs to be signed before you are legally incapable of making your judgment.
You can specify more than one co-agents on your POA, and you can also decide if they have to work together and agree to make a decision. Before signing the document, it is important to make sure that it contains the following details:
- How to settle any disputes that arise between the co-agents?
- Do all the co-agents have to agree with each other on every decision made?
- What to do if a co-agent isn’t immediately answering regarding an issue that came up?
There are different types of power of attorney that you need to be aware of before signing the document.
A non-durable power of attorney
A non-durable power of attorney document is not meant for cases of disablement. Non-durable POA is for instances where you need someone to represent you, but you can’t be present there yourself. This can be useful especially in the cases where you are caught up and need some documents signed so you can just appoint an agent to do the work for you.
The conditions of this document ends in cases when you are legally incompetent, you annul the document for some reason, or the expiration date of the document arrives.
The reason why this document has a short expiration date is that it is usually aimed at fulfilling a specific deal. An example of this could be, you leaving your kids with your neighbors for some time while you run a few errands. If you happen to be part of an accident during that time, you may not want the neighbors to continue looking after is your kids their entire lifetime. Similarly, the non-durable POA is the legal version of this example.
A durable power of attorney
This term applies to most of the POA documents as it gives the co-agents wide responsibilities to cater to. In a durable POA, attorneys are permitted to make decisions for the client even if they become incapacitated in the future.
Your agent must act according to your best interests, and they are not entitled to use your finances, hence they can be held accountable for the misuse of your resources.
According to the laws in your state, you may or may not need to inform your co-agents about the durable POA. you also have the right to withdraw their power anytime for whatever reason and don’t worry about losing your accounts during the process.
The immediate power of attorney
An immediate power of attorney document is valid as soon as it is endorsed, but it is often only expected to be used when the person who signed it is legally incapable; faced an injury, etc. While signing the document, it is important to review your state regulations for the document and make any changes required. A renewal period between one to four years is considered standard.
The agent appointed is bound to act according to your interests. He or she cannot make any decisions that they think are best for you, consultation is necessary. They are also not permissible to use the POA, unless and until the principal becomes incapacitated. Chances are that if the agent starts using the immediate POV, you may as well get to know about it immediately.
Springing power of attorney
Springing power of attorney has a few similarities with immediate power of attorney, one of which being, it only comes into effect once you are incapacitated, however, it is only valid once the terms you state that make you incapable are fulfilled. This also means that you must set appropriate standards of incompetency, that are can be understood while measuring. most attorneys try to avoid this document as it can cause complications.
It should be kept in mind, however, that you should opt for an attorney you trust for your matters. trust is one of the most important things to look for in your attorney especially when most of your important matters will be in his or her hands. If you don’t feel comfortable with them then perhaps they may not be the right choice for your matters and dealings.
General/limited power of attorney
A general power of attorney refers to when the attorney is given the liberty to take big decisions. This means that the attorney has the liberty to handle your care and other matters effectively without much intervention.
Limited power of attorney is when the attorney is hired to perform a selected amount of tasks and is not given enough freedom to have access to the principles’ bank accounts and other important assets. The extent to which you want to restrict your attorney is your decision.
With that being said, whether you’re going for elderly care or estate planning general/limited lawyer, it is better to have an expert present while overviewing and filling out the POA document.
A medical power of attorney
The medical power of attorney allows him or her to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal in case the principal becomes incapacitated and cannot do it themselves. there is usually the confirmation of the doctor who supervises the treatment of their principal and advises the most appropriate solution regarding the principle. It is recommended to keep separate documents for both your financial resources and health matters.
The main document which contains medical records of the principal is called the advanced medical directive which medical POA is a part of. It also includes the following information, who is allowed to make decisions on your behalf, what kind of treatment do you wish for depending on the disease and what measures do you want to follow in case of severe illnesses, and what do you want to be done to your body after your death? (any kind of religious ritual or charity to be taken care of?)
Who needs POA?
Having a POA gives you the assurance that your funds will be handled appropriately in case something happens to you. That is why it is recommended for everyone with financial resources to go for a POA.
A POA is of great help in cases where the principle is badly injured, with little chances of recovery. In this case, your spouse, parents, or siblings may consider moving to a smaller home, but this will not be possible to consider without a POA. They might have to take the case to court and prove that you are now legally incapable. After this, The court will set a guardian responsible for your finances and healthcare.
All your bank transactions will be evaluated to the nearest value and if any of these are inaccurate, then the legal processes could become more complex and the receipts won’t be accepted. Further complications will continue to arise without a POA, and this is why it is recommended to save your family members from the extensive legal process at a time when they are already very worried regarding your health and safety.
Power of attorney is a very useful document and can help you out a lot in the future when needed, which is why it is beneficial to have these important discussions when your loved ones are in good health and shape and can make their own decisions regarding the health care processes and financial decisions. POA can also save you from the financial point of view in case of an arising emergency. it can save your family members from being stuck if something goes south with you.
Lastly, the power of attorney ensures that you will stay out of debt, your expenses will be cleared, and your elders will be well cared for, no matter what happens to you in the future.
Thus it is important to choose a trustable attorney, as he/she will have control over a lot of your personal assets, and it is crucial that they be reliable.
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